“Even cleaning feels different”

Male, 18

“Even cleaning feels different”

Male, 18

18-year-old male enjoys the privacy and having his own things. He takes part in the pilot project combining housing and work for young people.

“I got my own room for the first time in my life when I moved into my own flat a bit over two months ago. Previously I’ve lived at my mum or dad’s with my siblings. Sometimes there were even four of us siblings under the same roof.

For the last three years we lived in a two-room apartment with my dad and little brother.

I’ve seen how my friends have struggled with finding an apartment. I’ve heard how hard it is running from one apartment viewing to another and still always getting a no.

People tend to be pigeonholed when looking for apartments, and many people probably have prejudices against a young single guy. Of course landlords want the most reliable tenants possible.

Project combining housing and work

I got into the A Home that Fits project which combines work and housing for young people. I live together with a flatmate in an apartment rented out by the Y-Foundation and we do 20 hours of work in the project each month.

Our job is to help the area’s inhabitants with their daily chores.

We go to the store with the elderly people next door or help them use a computer. My flatmate and I didn’t know each other beforehand but we get along well. We have a 60-square-metre apartment with our own rooms, a shared kitchen and a bathroom.

I don’t spend a lot of time at home because I have a lot to keep me busy.

The first four nights in the new flat were pretty exciting, when I was sleeping in an empty room in a sleeping bag on a mattress. If you don’t have anything of your own in a home, it doesn’t feel like one.

But I settled in quickly once I got some furniture and dishes. I got a wide bed since I finally have room for one.

Own things for the first time

For the first time it feels like I have my own things. It was fun to notice how even cleaning feels different now.

In my childhood home it felt like compulsory housework, but now it feels like leisure time when I’m cleaning and listening to music in my own flat.

I don’t spend a lot of time at home because I have a lot to keep me busy. I’m studying to be a youth and leisure instructor, and I do organisational and voluntary work with young people and children. I organise camps, workshops and events.

I think that if life is a journey, an apartment is a pit stop, a place to rest. I want to live by the idea that home is where the heart is. The feeling of safety and warmth can be found somewhere else than at home, too.”

This story was first published in our book A Home of Your Own (2017). 

Our other pages: m2kodit.fi | housingfirsteurope.eu